Solving the Mysteries of the Universe

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey

is simply amazing. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “to map the Milky Way, search for extrasolar planets, and solve the mystery of dark energy.”

Their unique opportunity is to build a 3D map of the night sky. They have plotted the exact positions of millions and millions of galaxies. The resulting data tells us about the makeup of distant galaxies, their relative positions, their shape, and how they are distributed throughout our universe.

The map has shown us things that we have never seen before. It has shown us that our galaxy does not stand alone. Our galaxy is not randomly distributed amongst the others of our universe. It is part of a cluster of galaxies, which is in turn part of a super cluster of galaxies. The super clusters are connected into structures called filaments. One of these filaments that SDSS has discovered is over 4.4 billion light years long.

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The simulated image above shows millions of galaxies organized into clusters and filaments — All held together by dark matter. Credit: Paul Bourke and Alexander Knebe, Swinburne University of Technology.

alt Andromeda by skiwalker79

Think about it. Every single star we can see with our unaided eye is in our own galaxy. The most distant star you can see with the unaided eye is about 4,000 light years away. Andromeda, our closest neighbor galaxy has a relative brightness the same as many stars in the night sky. You may have seen it and not even known you were gazing upon one trillion stars over 2 million light years away. On a clear night, it may appear as a fuzzy patch in the sky. The map created by SDSS shows millions of galaxies. The human mind fails to comprehend the vastness of such magnitudes.

Now check out the video created by the SDSS and realize how tiny we really are and the majesty of God’s creations.